Feb 28, 2011 11:24am
Re: Gangbusters ---a query?
hi guys i did a bit of digging around and found this article writen in 1998 , although from the date it could be an april fool gag , but i checked radio world archive and it's not unfortunatly. i think your list of 13 programs just got a lot longer .
Radio Spirits Buys Up Classics:
An OTR Article by Read G. Burgan
Published In RADIO WORLD April 1, 1998:
Radio Spirits Acquires Charles Michelson, Inc.
Read G. Burgan
On December 12, 1997, Radio Spirits of Schiller Park, IL, acquired the radio portion of Charles Michelson, Inc. of Beverly Hills, CA, according to Carl Amari, CEO and owner of Radio Spirits. Amari would not comment on the price, but Michelson said it was in "six figures." This culminates six months of negotiations between the two companies.
Radio Spirits will acquire those portions of Charles Michelson, Inc. that relate to radio programming. In particular, Amari will be adding the following series to his holdings: Edgar Bergen/Charlie McCarthy, The Black Museum (with Orson Welles), Box 13 (with Alan Ladd), Burns and Allen, The Cisco Kid, The Clock, The Falcon, Dragnet, Famous Jury Trials, Fibber McGee and Molly, Gangbusters, The Greatest Story Ever Told, The Green Hornet, The Third Man (with Orson Welles), The Hidden Truth, Hopalong Cassidy, Horatio Hornblower, Jack Benny, Night Beat, Red Ryder, The Sealed Book, The Best Of Sherlock Holmes, The Six Shooter (with James Stewart), Stand By For Crime, Theatre Royale, Voyage of the Scarlet Queen, X-Minus One and the War of the Worlds.
Some of these programs Michelson owns outright; for others he serves as the exclusive representative of the owners.
Amari fell in love with old time radio (otr) programming at the age of twelve when a friend's father played a cassette of a Suspense program during a sleep over. At the age of 18, Amari decided to use his otr hobby to help pay his college expenses by initiating a broadcast of otr programs on a local Chicago radio station. "Radio Spirits was founded in 1981 in my first year of college out of my parent's basement with a Radio Shack mixer, a Radio Shack microphone and a Radio Shack cassette deck," Amari said.
"That's when I first ran into Charlie Michelson," Amari remembers. "It didn't start out so friendly. I got these letters, 'You can't play those shows; we have the rights to them'. And sure enough, he did. That was my first education that these shows are not in public domain."
Over a period of time, Amari began acquiring the rights to various otr programs. His wrote, produced and narrated his own otr program aired in Chicago.. "My big break," Amari says, "came when John Doremos arranged to have my show aired on several airlines inflight programming." In 1988 Dick Brescia, a former CBS executive heard his inflight program and offered to syndicate Amari's program nationwide.
Currently "When Radio Was" is heard on approximately 300 stations, and his other two programs -- "Radio Movie Classics" and "Radio SuperHeros" -- are each running on 100 stations. The programs are distributed by satellite and on chrome audio cassettes.
Michelson began in radio back in the 1938 when he exported 52 episodes of "Chandu the Magician" on sixteen inch electrical transcriptions to Australia for $50 per episode. "We sent samples of other series, and each one we sent we got orders for," Michelson remembers.
"I finally got the message that I've got to get out of the export business and get into the radio business on the domestic end of it." In the 1960's, his Charles Michelson, Inc. company began providing radio stations with packages of 52 weekly programs including The Shadow, Fibber McGee and Molly, The Lone Ranger and The Green Hornet.
At its peak, Michelson had 80 to 100 stations carrying his series. But in the last few years, that number had declined to 30 or so stations. "It came to the situation where barter took over, and the stations weren't willing to pay for programming anymore. They were getting it for free. So I saw the message on the wall," Michelson said.
The 88 year old Michelson has no intention of retiring. "Carl's acquiring the radio program rights, and we are going to concentrate on our television activities. I'll be selling television rights to some of the famous radio programs." One of his television projects includes a special for the A&E cable network. "I'm working with my two sons and we're putting together a documentary called the 'First Hundred Years of Radio.'"
Michelson is also working on a deal to donate his remaining tape library to the Braille Institute. "They are going to redistribute them to other blind groups. I understand they have 20,000 blind people around the country who listen to their programming," Michelson adds. He has multiple copies of 28 series in his library, each with 52 episodes.
Amari plans on honoring the existing Michelson contracts with radio stations. But ultimately he will fold the Michelson programs into his existing program vehicles and hopes that Michelson's current customers will subscribe to the Radio Spirits' series. Says Amari, "Actually, it will be better for them, because our programming is free. Right now Charlie charges stations for the programming."
Amari is able to do this by bartering time with the local stations. "When Radio Was" is hosted by Stan Freeberg and runs for one hour five days a week. His programs include commercials for national sponsors plus plugs for his own otr products. In exchange for airing the programs, the local stations get the otr programming plus six minutes of time for inserting their own local spots.
In addition, Amari has two other weekly programs: "Radio Movie Classics," an hour long program hosted by Jeffrey Lyons featuring radio adaptations of movies as originally presented on Lux Radio Theatre and "Radio Super Heroes," a half hour action programs for kids hosted by Kris Erik Stevens.
While others host the Radio Spirits programs, Amari is still involved in the details of their production. "I write what Stan says, and what Jeffrey Lyons says and what Kris Erik says. That's what I do," Amari says.
How does Amari make his money? "The selling of the commercial time on 'When Radio Was' is definitely a profit center for us. And the program enables us to reach the exact people we want to reach to provide a catalog. Our catalog makes about a fourth of our revenue. Half of our revenue is generated in our retail market place. And about a fourth of our revenue is through the radio show."
Amari is particularly proud of his relationship with The Smithsonian Institution. "About three and a half or four years ago, I got the idea to produce the top-of-the line product of old time radio. I didn't want one click, or one pop or any distortion. I wanted it to be perfect."
"The only system we saw out there that would do this was Sonic Solutions with No Noise. We started off with one computer, and now we have four. We do it all in-house."
Amari choose the Smithsonian Institution as a partner because he was looking for a name that was synonymous with quality. Each of the resulting collections features well written booklets with photos and a forward by a famous radio person. George Burns, Jerry Lewis and Jackie Kelk are some who have written forwards.
The sound quality is impeccable. The latest collection, "Superman with Batman and Robin" sounds as if it were recorded in a contemporary digital studio. There are virtually no pops, clicks or record surface noise apparent.
Has Amari's commitment to quality paid off? "The last two years we've been in 'Inc. 500' magazine's fastest growing, privately held companies 500 list. Our company over the last three years has grown more than a thousand percent per year. Last year we grew 1800 percent. Most of that is because of the retail (sales)." He currently has fifteen employees.
Stations interested in information on how they can carry the Radio Spirits programs should contact David West, Affiliate Coordinator at (201) 385-6566 or e-mail at DBASYNDICATORS@prodigy.com. They have a website at: http://www.ICTX.com/DBA.
-- The End --
Read Burgan is a free lance writer and a former public radio station manager who can be reached at (906) 296-0652 or through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feb 28, 2011 11:56am
Re: Gangbusters ---a query?
This following copy might make the copyright law easier for people to understand
Any lawsuit for copyright infringement needs to be brought about by the real parties in interest (the actual copyright holder or assignee), not somebody else on their behelf. Without a federally registered copyright (which automatically would carry a presumption of validity), the burden of proof is on the person bringing the lawsuit to prove that they own a valid copyright for the work.
Registration Issues: Although failure to register a copyright does not affect its validity, a copyright must be registered before an infringement action can be filed under current federal copyright law. Registration must be made within three months after publication or before the occurrence of an infringement in order for statutory damages and attorney's fees to be available to the plaintiff. Otherwise only actual damages may be awarded (17 USC §§ 411, 412).
Radio shows created before January 1, 1978 are protected by the Copyright Act of 1909 rather than the Copyright Act of 1976 ( http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.html#hlc
) because according to case law any copyright determinations must be made according the copyright law as it existed before that date.
Assuming the old time radio shows were in the pbulic domain from from the Copyright Act of 1909, the update of 1976 could not suddenly place them under copyright because they were already in the public domain, and the status of a public domain work is not allowed to ever be reversed.
Steve Dhuey from University of Toledo College of Law wrote in to add the following thoughts on the topic:
Your page on copyrights seems to address only one type of copyright, federal statutory copyright. There is indeed good reason to believe that the old time radio recordings themselves are not under *federal* statutory copyright.
However, there are at least two other major types of copyright: state statutory copyright, and common law copyright. Neither of those types of copyright are addressed on that page:
* Under common law copyright, an unpublished work remained under copyright to its owner/creator in perpetuity.
* State statutory copyright, like federal statutory copyright, usually sets a limited term on a copyright.
U.S. Copyright Office Circular #56, "Copyright Registration for Sound Recordings," says:
"Sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972, were generally protected by common law or in some cases by statutes enacted in certain states but were not protected by federal copyright law. In 1971 Congress amended the copyright code to provide copyright protection for sound recordings fixed and first published with the statutory copyright notice on or after February 15, 1972. The 1976 Copyright Act, effective January 1, 1978, provides federal copyright protection for unpublished and published sound recordings fixed on or after February 15, 1972. Any rights or remedies under state law for sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972, are not annulled or limited by the 1976 Copyright Act until February 15, 2047." http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ56.html
Thus, sound recordings made before Feb. 15, 1972, are not protected by federal copyright, but they may still be protected by state copyright, or by common law copyright.
That addresses the issue of the sound recordings themslves. But there is another issue: the copyright of the scripts used on old time radio shows. These scripts were almost all written as works for hire, with the copyrights belonging to the network or the sponsor. The copyrights of these scripts are separate from the copyright of the sound recordings; one can be in the public domain while the other is still under copyright.
Almost all radio scripts would be legally considered unpublished works (broadcast or performance does not constitute publication), because very few old time radio broadcasts have been published by the copyright owners. If the scripts were unpublished, and not registered for copyright as unpublished works, they were under common law copyright, i.e., in perpetuity. The Copyright Act of 1976, effective 1978, changed that. It abolished common law copyright in the U.S. (except for sound recordings) and said that all unpublished, unregistered works existing as of Jan. 1, 1978, had a federal statutory copyright, lasting 120 years from the date of creation.
Thus, even though the *recordings* of the old time radio broadcasts are not under federal statutory copyright, the *scripts* underlying most of those broadcasts are under federal statutory copyright for 120 years from creation.
There is a third layer of copyright involved, if the script is based on another literary work, for example, a short story, play, or motion picture screenplay. Even if the sound recording had no copyright, and the radio script had no copyright, the copyright of the underlying literary property may be in effect and enforceable.
In summary, the copyright situation is more complex than the simple question of whether the old time radio recordings are under federal statutory copyright. There are also issues of common law copyright and state statutory copyright, and the underlying literary copyrights of the scripts.
Sir Jake says
A window of opportunity existed in 1978-1979 when the copyright law regarding such recordings changed. (Such had to be submitted to the Congressional Record for reinstatement at that time, and NO US Broadcasts from the 1929 thru 1950 period was filed for at that time in the Congressional Record - only a few foreign language audio recordings were so filed for in that period
This post was modified by jake stormcrow on 2011-02-28 19:56:17